Vortex: Bladeless Wind Turbines  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Spanish startup Vortex has an interesting bladeless wind turbine design that generated quite a lot of publicity last year as they went through a crowdfunding phase.

Technology Review explains that the turbines harness "vorticity" - the spinning motion of air or other fluids.

When wind passes one of the cylindrical turbines, it shears off the downwind side of the cylinder in a spinning whirlpool or vortex. That vortex then exerts force on the cylinder, causing it to vibrate. The kinetic energy of the oscillating cylinder is converted to electricity through a linear generator similar to those used to harness wave energy.

The TR author warns that the "turbine looks intriguing, but it may not solve wind power’s challenges".

Wired reports the company founders claim their Vortex Mini, which stands at around 41 feet tall, can capture up to 40 percent of the wind’s power during ideal conditions (this is when the wind is blowing at around 26 miles per hour).

Based on field testing, the Mini ultimately captures 30 percent less than conventional wind turbines, but that shortcoming is compensated by the fact that you can put double the Vortex turbines into the same space as a propeller turbine.

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